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Monday, 22 October 2018

A Stylish Chat with Kelvin and Lauren Burford of Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers





Lauren and Kelvin Burford of Atlanta are taking on the fashion industry in the Hollywood of the South, and they have a unique, fun, and creative approach with their Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers. They can style you from head to toe along with weekenders and backpacks so you're traveling in style as well. Learn about more about their business as well as the challenges and joys of owning one. 

What do you and Kelvin love about your life right now?

Kelvin-Since retiring from the military, I have loved my overall freedom. I can come and go as I please, travel when I want to. 

Lauren- I love being able to be a wife and mother without the demands of the military. Although I enjoyed my career, my duties often took me away from my family.

Which one of you wanted to start Simply Wynn? Did you both have an interest?

Lauren- Ever since I was a young girl, I would design clothes and dream of one day owning a boutique called Mary Jane’s after my great-grandmother. She was the original Coco Chanel! I was known for my fashion-sense and enjoyed and still do, making others look their best. I joined the Air Force and put my dreams on hold. Once I finished my military career, I had the opportunity to learn the custom clothing business from my mentor.

Kelvin- Although I grew up fond of wearing suits, it never crossed my mind that I would have my own line of clothing. I used to wear suits regularly in high school just because I wanted to feel like a professional and I liked to look good.

Kelvin & Lauren- Together we discussed creating our own brand once we understood how the business worked.

When did you create Simply Wynn?

Kelvin & Lauren- We created Simply Wynn August 2016.



I notice you honor veterans by giving a discount to them. As you both have mentioned that you served in the military, which branch did you serve in?

Kelvin & Lauren- We both served in the U. S. Air Force.

Thank you for your service. By serving in the military, did it prepare you for your business?

Kelvin & Lauren- Thank you!

Kelvin- The military taught me how to work well under pressure. It taught me to maintain high standards, professionalism, and I display that in my business. The Air Force paid for my degree in Business Entrepreneurship.

Lauren- My first job in the Air Force was in a mental health clinic. Working there taught me more about life, understanding the mind, and how to work with people than any other job I have ever had. The military also paid for my education so no complaints there. 

Is it hard to put yourself out there with a fashion business? What have been the challenges?

Kelvin & Lauren- It is hard putting yourself out there in the fashion business when what is considered fashion today is skin-tight, revealing, and extremely flashy. Call us old-fashion but there is still stylish clothing that can accent your shape or features without revealing everything.  

Lauren- The challenge from my perspective has been getting customers to trust your brand as a start-up business.

Kelvin-Also, knowing the who’s who in the business and making the right contacts without being taken advantage of. That is what I consider to be the biggest challenge.


What are some of the joys?

Kelvin- I love the travel and meeting new people. I like the transformation of seeing the client when we first consult with them and the end-product. I really enjoy those clients who have never owned or worn a suit and seeing the confidence that I helped instill in them by designing a suit. They seem to walk a little taller and hold their heads higher.

Lauren- I love seeing customers look at themselves in the mirror with an air of confidence because we designed a look just for them. I have met actors and models in the industry who are down to earth and who desire to be the best representation of your brand. My husband and I work well together. We have forged genuine relationships with some of them. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and it works for us.

Was there anybody in the fashion industry or a company that inspired you to create it?

Kelvin-No, no one in the fashion industry or a specific company inspired me to create it however, our mentor Clarence Jones of CJ Custom Clothiers encourages and inspires me. I watch his determination and professional work ethic and it is worthy of emulating.

Lauren-There was no company or person in the fashion industry that inspired us to create Simply Wynn. My inspiration came from my grandmother. My grandmother inspires all who come around her because she is such a peaceful spirit.

With your company, a client can custom design their own clothes and your company makes it? Is that how it works?

Kelvin-We specialize in custom suiting, tuxedos, overcoats, and shirting. We do a consultation and design each feature of the aforementioned with the client. He or she selects their fabric and accessories and our team of tailors constructs it.

Lauren- We also offer ready to wear pieces for women. We recently teamed up with a seamstress that can bring our design ideas to life for women. Whether it is a dress or a gown, we have the resources to make the design happen.

Who are your biggest supporters?

Lauren- Our family members are our biggest supporters. Simply Wynn is named after my grandmother, Ernestine Wynn Patrick and she is overjoyed knowing that her legacy will continue.

Kelvin- I would have to agree, my mother and mother-in-law have been our biggest supporters. Yasin Abdul, model/actor and Clarence Jones (C.J.) have been there since day one.
 
Yasin Abdul and Vernice Grigsby modeling Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers.
Photograph by Ralph E. Williams of e37 Photography 


 I read a quote on Pinterest that says, “Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it.” Do you agree?

Kelvin- I agree. Growing up I was not able to afford name-brand clothes however with what I had I wore it well. I got “Best-Dressed” in high school and people couldn’t believe what my outfit cost from head to toe. It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it.
Lauren- I couldn’t agree with the quote more. You can put the same blouse on two different women. Woman number one may add a necklace, make up her face with complimenting colors, and even style her hair based on the blouse. Woman number two may simply wear the blouse without giving any thought to the garment and without making it her own. You’re born with style; either you have it, or you don’t.

Anybody in the fashion industry that either of you looks up to?

Kelvin- I look up to Damon John because like us he started his clothing line out of his home. Like him, he saw a product that was over-priced and went home to recreate the product and sold it for less. I have found some custom suiting to be overpriced. Not being able to afford custom suits in my younger years, I feel as though every client should be able to afford custom clothing.

Lauren-I do like the character Whitley Gilbert from the 90s show A Different World. Although Jasmine Guy was playing a character, she was always stylish and feminine in her role. Also, I am a huge fan of Calvin Klein and Coco Chanel. I like classic and chic! These influences inspire me to keep our products classy and tasteful.
Another individual who did not start out in the fashion industry but is a style influencer is former First Lady Michelle Obama. She is a community servant at heart and does it with such style and grace.

Coco Chanel once said “Fashion has two purposes: comfort and love. Beauty comes when fashion succeeds.”  Do you agree with Coco?

Kelvin- I agree and disagree. I agree with fashion providing comfort and love however it only accentuates a person’s natural beauty. What fashion does is boosts the person’s confidence which exudes outwardly. Beauty doesn’t come when fashion succeeds, it comes when they are centered mentally and spiritually.

Lauren- This is another quote I agree with. When people look good they feel good and their beauty radiates from within. We have another business Inside Out Life Coaching that is still under development. It is our belief that regardless of what we design and style you in, the confidence only lasts temporarily. Inside Out is designed to help cultivate the beauty from within so that when you wear any garment not necessarily Simply Wynn’s, your confidence lasts because you have achieved mental and spiritual soundness.

Finally, what are a few things you would like future clients to know about Simply Wynn Custom Clothiers?

Kelvin & Lauren- We want future customers to know that Simply Wynn is all about its customers. We strive to make our clients feel comfortable, confident, and that they’ve become a part of our family. When we do consultations, we try to familiarize ourselves with our customers. We care about the things that impact them such and make it a point to remember and celebrate those special things in their lives. Without clients, there is no Simply Wynn.
  
Follow them on social media and check out their website for more information.






About Maria Rochelle


Maria is a writer of multiple genres, and author of the popular children's picture story book series Jasmine Dreams.
Find out more about Maria here →

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